How To Manage People Depending On Their Personality Type

A work team in which every member thinks and behaves the same way might be able to do simple tasks efficiently, but many businesses simply don’t operate by making basic widgets anymore. Companies and work teams having a real impact on the world feature many distinct personalities.

Just as successful teams are comprised of different personalities, however, managers must lead in more than one way. That doesn’t mean you should have different messages or tell team members different things. In short, it means knowing how employees process information, share their views, and react to feedback. Carefully cultivating your management style for your team and its various personalities can help you get the most out of your employees, and below are some ways to do just that.

Have Team Members Take Personality Tests

Some hiring managers have job applicants take a personality test, like the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or Enneagram, before extending an offer. Others like to have employees settle in and get comfortable before analyzing their personality. An applicable personality test can reveal much more about a future or current employee than a question-and-answer session in an interview, such as how someone will fit in a team or what they might do in a dispute with another employee.

To illustrate, consider INFJ, the Advocate personality type in the Myers-Briggs universe. Someone with an INFJ personality tends to be imaginative, somewhat introverted, intuitive, and passionate about helping people they believe are in need. They often find jobs as healthcare workers, spiritual leaders, and other careers where they can stay true to their values.

For more on how INFJ personalities contribute to teams in the workplace, check out BetterHelp and its articles on Myers-Briggs personalities:

Reflect On Any Biases You May Have

Even though you are expected to lead different personality types, you have a personality type yourself. You might prefer working with people who also tend to keep to themselves, for example, or you might be biased toward applicants with similar educational backgrounds. Be prepared to dig deep; some biases of ours can be described as “unconscious,” making it difficult to recognize when we might not be fostering and cultivating diversity in the workplace.

Be An Active Listener

A one-dimensional leader simply barks orders at employees. That may work for some teams, but it probably won’t work very long until workers start to turn over at a high rate. Surveys have shown that workers born in 1980 or after are more likely to want to be included or at least have some say in decisions made by their employers. In that same vein, modern workers prize transparency from managers moreso than workers of past generations.

To make sure your employees feel heard and included, you must be an active listener. When employees come to you with questions or concerns, show that you are actually interested in what they are saying. Make eye contact, don’t multitask or play around on your smartphone, show positive body language, and summarize key points they made so you are both in agreement about what is being communicated. Active listening may lead to fewer disputes and increased productivity within your team.

Communicate With Intention

Communicating with intention as a manager means having a clear, relevant message you want to convey to your employees. This doesn’t mean that you can never engage in witty banter with your employees (although appreciation for small talk varies among personality types). Rather, it means thinking about your message beforehand, communicating through the appropriate medium, saying it in a way that will resonate with your team, and opening up your attention to any questions.

Paying close attention to your messages and how you deliver them may cut down on confusion within your team, which can certainly aid in productivity. You might even communicate the same message quite differently based on the recipient.

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